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Buddha's Lumbini

Some dictionaries and search engines these days have come up with different information on Lumbini and Lord Buddha but there is only one fact which will always remain the same that Lumbini that lies in Nepal is the birthplace of the Apostle of Peace - Buddha and this fact stands as a great pride to Nepal and the Nepalese.

Lord Gautam Buddha was born as Prince Siddhartha Gautam to Shakya King Suddhodana and Queen Maya Devi in Lumbini in May sometime in 600BC but there is still a big debate on the actual year of Buddha's birth.

Prince Siddhartha lived a lavish and protected lifestyle unknown of poverty, illness, death and misery that lurked outside the palace. When the Prince was 16, he was married to Princess Yasodhara and they had a son Rahul.

One fine day, when the Prince went out of the palace on his chariot he saw an old man, a sick person, a dead body and a monk for the first time in his life. These sights made him realize the bitter truth of human life that one day he will also become an old man with various diseases and finally to his death bed. This reality highly disturbed him and he began to loathe the world and desperately desired to discover the truth and decided to choose the path of the monk to attain enlightenment.

At the age of 29, the Prince abandoned his palace and his family in the quest of truth and enlightenment and after six years of practicing all forms of austerity, he finally attained Nirvana while meditating under a tree in Bodh Gaya, India and he understood the meaning of life in the deepest way.

After enlightenment he traveled to various parts of India, especially the northern part teaching and explaining the way to full enlightenment for the sake of others and led his numerous disciples towards attaining enlightenment who also taught others to walk in this path. After 45 years of preaching the noble truths he passed away at the age of 80.

Lord Buddha never claimed himself to be a God but Hindus have regarded him to be the 9th incarnation of Lord Bishnu who taught mankind the world of non violence with no castes and races and no sacrifice of animals. It was Buddha who established a new religion - Buddhism which flourished in Asia and then gradually got popular in other surrounding countries. Buddhism is about attaining permanent liberation from the worldly sufferings with the lasting peace and happiness.

Lumbini, the Mecca of peace has become one of the most popular and holiest pilgrimage sites in the world. The only UNESCO cultural heritage site outside Kathmandu Valley, Lumbini has many beautiful shrines built with the help of the devotees from various countries, mostly the Buddhists. The main attraction in Lumbini is the sacred garden with Maya Devi temple depicting the birth of Lord Buddha, the Tank where Maya Devi is supposed to have taken a bath before the baby was born and the Ashokan pillar pointing Buddha's birthplace and other holy sites all around the place.

A visit to sacred Lumbini definitely ensures a peace of mind and the principles of Buddha and PEACE is what our world needs today more than anything else. A symbol of unity in diversity, Lumbini is regarded as the fountain of world peace.

In honor of Lord Buddha - the light of Asia, Buddha Jayanti or the birth anniversary of Buddha is celebrated in Nepal every year during May. All the devotees throng to the Buddhist stupas, especially Swayambhunath and Boudhanath in Kathmandu and pay homage to Lord Buddha. People also travel to Lumbini for special worship on this very day by chanting prayers and burning butter lamps.